Monthly Archives: January 2017

Conspiracy in the Hop Market

I sometimes hear from people who must love conspiracy theories that hop merchants and growers fix prices and that some are in cahoots with one another. The truth is that merchants rarely communicate with one another. Growers get together more often. When anybody in the industry meets, it’s as much about disinformation as information. That’s […]

Craft Inc. – Part 2

Is craft beer a trend or is it part of the culture today? The first craft breweries today are billion dollar companies. The next wave of craft breweries followed the same path. They too enjoyed wild growth and today, they are big corporations. They traded the “local” moniker to be bigger and you can find […]

Craft Inc. – Part 1

Craft is an art. Even the word implies a beautiful meaning, creation. So many bearded men in flannel expressing themselves and their appreciation for flavor and creativity in ways previously unexplored can’t be a bad thing, can it? As an American who has lived overseas, I have noticed that we Americans fall prey to a […]

Contracts vs. Cash Flow

Unbelievably, there are still hop growers increasing acreage in 2017. They say “they have contracts” or “the wheels are in motion” or that “the plans have been in the works for a while”. That was OK back in July, but the picture has become much clearer in the past few months. Time to change the plan!  Last […]

Anatomy of the current surplus-shortage-surplus cycle

The anatomy of the current surplus-shortage-surplus cycle is not entirely unique. There are many similarities between this and cycles of the past.    A massive oversupply occurs in response to over contracting. Spot hop prices plummet. Once it is clear a stable exists, brewers try to renegotiate expensive contracts into less expensive longer-term contracts. Contracted demand decreases […]

Opposite Roles

Happy National Opposite Day!! Yes, it’s today! I bet you didn’t even know there was such a day, did you? It seems the hop and brewing industry are ahead of the times. For at least the past 6 months, members of the hop and craft brewing industries are playing opposite roles. Here’s an example … Today, […]

Convention: One big Party?

When I was director of Hop Growers of America, most brewers, or anybody for that matter, didn’t care much about convention. When attendance was greater than 150 people, it was a shock. Convention was a time when growers and industry members would get together to discuss industry issues, drink free beer and play dice together. […]